Wales are left disappointed after losing to the Czech Republic in their final game of the EuroHockey Championship II. Despite the loss, Wales remain ahead of Czech Republic in the rankings and come 5th overall, avoiding relegation.
Wales started well putting pressure on the Czech’s in possession. Sophie Robinson and Phoebe Richards pressed Czech’s defence on more than one occasion, creating turnovers back to Wales. Whilst Wales were heavy in attack, Czech entered Wales’ D once in the first quarter and was quickly shown the door by well composed Julie Whiting who drove Czech our of our 22.
At 21’ Xenna Hughes had an excellent back stick shot shortly followed by Leah Wilkinson’s attempt, unfortunately both were blocked by Czech’s goalkeeper.
HALF TIME: WALES 1 – 0 CZECH REPUBLIC
Fresh off the mark the Czech’s made it 1 all in Glasgow as they made a fast break allowing Veronik Decsyova to get a point on the board.
At 34’ Phoebe Richards picked up green card and the Czech’s optimised on being a player up and found a gap in Wales’ defence where dangerous Veronika Decssyova then scored Czech’s second goal to make it 1-2 to the Czech Republic.
Wales set up camp in Czech’s defensive 22 but a change in their defence made it hard for Wales to get the ball past Czech’s goalkeeper.
At 39’ Czech’s #2 Katerina Lacina was given a yellow card, but it wasn’t to benefit Wales as Czech’s defence remained strong.
Moving into the fourth quarter Wales found themselves a player up again as Jindriska Reichlova was given a green card for a foot fault. Play predominantly remained on the right wing of the pitch as Welsh players frequently became cornered by the Czech’s, causing a turnover.
With 6 minutes until the end of the game, the referee gave Czech’s Tereza Mejzlikova a yellow card leaving Wales dominant on the pitch for the final leg of the fourth quarter.
At 55′ Wales had the final chance at a goal but Isobel Webb’s shot went wide. The Czech’s ran down the clock until the game concluded 2-1 to the Czech Republic.
FULL TIME: WALES 1 – 2 CZECH REPUBLIC
Wales came 5th overall in the EuroHockey Championships II, with hosts Scotland taking the win as Turkey and Ukraine were relegated from the championship. Head coach Kevin Johnson reflected on the game:
Unfortunately our final game against the Czech team was a little symptomatic of how our tournament had gone previously. We played some fantastic hockey in the first half but just couldn’t add to a wonderful reverse stick solo effort from Xenna Hughes that put us 1-0 up. We failed to manage a couple of Czech counter attacks early in the second half which put them in front of the scoreboard against the run of play, but despite a huge amount of possession in their half for the remainder of the game we couldn’t find a way to score any more goals.Kevin Johnson, Head Coach
He continued to reflect on the tournament..
It is a huge credit to the progress of our team that we were so dominant with the ball against a side ranked 3rd in the tournament coming into the tournament who were only in European ‘A’ division 2 years ago, but all our efforts still left us without the all important win. Fortunately, due to our superior goal difference our final placing wasn’t in jeopardy with the result and therefore we still ended up in 5th place overall, which was our primary target as soon as we didn’t manage to make the semi-final stages.Kevin Johnson, Head Coach
Despite the loss, captain Leah Wilkinson also highlighted her praise of the team as she looked to the future:
As a team I think we have mixed emotions. We are happy with the amount of goals we scored and played some excellent hockey at times, our first quarter in every game was of a real quality. We also achieved our ranking position of 5th. However, at times we weren’t able to take our chances and make our possession count, which led to some disappointing results and meant we narrowly missed out on a semi-final place. There are lots of positives though, including Lauren Roberts gaining her 1st cap for Wales plus Hannah Cozens and Eloise Laity gaining their 50th caps, all special moments. We have plenty to look forward too as we approach 2020.Leah Wilkinson, Captain
Thank you to Sport 101, Weston Williamson & Partners, Field Hockey Goalies and S Danda Wealth Management for their support of the team and individuals.
That is the end of Wales Women’s journey in Scotland, up next Wales Men compete in Antwerp in the Belfius EuroHockey Championship from the 16th-25th of August.